Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Serious Case of Nostalgia

Okay, I have a serious case of nostalgia. I think it is contagious because I know of at least 3 others in my family who have it too. The root cause is being away from home for the holidays. The diagnosis: homesickness.

So, while I'm remembering Christmas past, let me share some random Christmas memories:

-We had the ugliest Christmas trees, but we were proud of them. All of us were like Charlie Brown; we felt sorry for the loneliest tree in the lot or in the country where the tree was felled. They weren't THAT ugly, but they weren't always THAT pretty either! haha! The best part: the smell of pine. The worst part: the prickly, splintery needles nestled in our bare feet. And the most love: Mom and Dad let us put up our ugly homemade ornaments along with their pretty storebought ones-even the ones made from toilet paper rolls and wallpaper samples!

-Wade and I climbed up on Mom's lap (which wasn't large enough for both of us, but she let us hop up there anyway) as she read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" to us, each Christmas Eve.

-We talked Mom & Dad into letting us open one gift on Christmas Eve. Many times, it was gifts from Uncle Eddie and Aunt Paula (since Santa hadn't arrived yet).

-My last baby doll came from Mrs. Gabbert when I was about 11-12 years old. Many said I was too old for doll babies, but Mrs. Gabbert knew I couldn't resist loving on them! I still have this doll-she has traveled to 5 different states with me.

-Dad enjoyed wrapping presents-and he was good at it!

-Dad sang all my favorite Christmas carols better than any professional singer I knew at the time-and he often sang them from...the shower! My personal favorite of his was "O Holy Night." He had amazing range and beautiful vibrato.

-As much as Dad loved Christmas, he often made us wait until he had had some coffee and gotten dressed, and combed his hair before we could have Christmas. The wait was almost unbearable!

-Mom made boxes and boxes of goodies for Dad to take to his friends at work, and for our neighbors and other family friends. Hard telling how much sugar she went through at Christmastime!

I wish I could celebrate Christmas on in to January, now that the rush of Church activities is over-maybe I just WILL!


wade said...

I have to disagree! I thought we always took a relatively long time to pick out the best tree that was available on the lot that would fit in our living room corner. And the same for when Dad and I would look for our own tree to cut down on Warren Kuntz’ farm, we would walk around a long time before picking which was the best one. I much preferred cutting our own tree, even if some years the trees were a little drier or for whatever reason the selection wasn’t as good as other years.

I don’t remember climbing up into Mom’s lap for her reading to us L

As for letting us open one present on Christmas Eve, actually I think that we begged and pleaded for them to let us open just one present…and they always made us wait until Christmas morning to open them all! Maybe one year we got our way; Mom can remember better, maybe.

Dad definitely was good at wrapping presents, and he seemed to enjoy it. He was never the type to actually say he enjoyed doing anything, though! As for singing carols in the shower, I can’t remember for sure…but, he was always singing something in there! And I think around Christmas time, he would sing some carols. He was a great singer, shower or wherever. Too bad Louisiana wasn’t the kind of town to have a secular men’s singing group, like my neighbor in Fukuoka invited me to join.

I hated him making us wait to open presents until he had eaten breakfast and did whatever. It seemed absolutely like cruel and unusual punishment! However, now that I am a dad, I can understand. It’s better to get breakfast and that kind of thing out of the way first. And I much prefer to take a shower and wash my hair, for all those pictures and video!

mom said...

My memory bank is fuller of holes than either of yours. Laps, yes you both sat on my lap until you were like three and four when I rocked you to sleep every night. We did that until you were too heavy, as a combined weight, for me to stand back up with to put into your beds after getting you to sleep by singing my wonderful renditions of songs like "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes". I know that I read "The Night Before Christmas" to you some, but don't remember it being in that setting or sitting. Your dad had a great natural voice and born with "ear" for music, but I'm like Wade in not remembering specific songs he sang. The trees usually were cedars found in the woods and like Wade said carefully chosen and brought home with pride. Sometimes the decorating was a little harder when trying to create a balance to those trees, but because they were done with tender care in the end they looked great. Your dad usually got them trimmed to fit the stand and put the electric light strings on and I did the rest, because he got so uptight being the perfectionist type personality that he was, good enough was never perfect. I enjoyed doing the rest and think I let you or mostly Wade, help hang icicles when you got old enough, that we carefully placed all over each branch after getting all the other decorations on. I was glad that at least one of you liked doing the tree, but don't think I ever tired of decorating it. The Grandma Mary tree story was one she told us that year, we didn't actually see anything except maybe a somewhat droopy tree in the living room. I don't think their fuss was about gift giving, but it has been too long to remember. Wade, do you remember the year we went to Springfield to Kathy and Russ's for Christmas? You had been in college at Columbia and your dad and I lied and told you we didn't do a tree because of being gone, but surprised you with a really tall one. I think it was one of the prettiest we ever had. Your eyes got very big when you saw it.